Weddings

Weddings - Your Day, Your Way!

Today I am going to write from the heart, and I'm going to talk about doing weddings your way. One thing I can't stress enough to future couples is the importance of doing a wedding your own way. 

Too often people get caught up in the commercialisation of weddings, and worried about pleasing everyone. 

Well I say, don't.

A wedding is the celebration of YOUR love story. The only two people you need to please are yourselves. 

If someone is pushing you to have a church wedding, but your dream is an intimate ceremony in a forest, then do it. 

If someone is pushing you into traditions and formalities, but you are more 'jandals on a beach' kind of couple, then embrace it. A wedding day should be a direct representation of your inner most self. 

Don't want to wear a white dress? Don't wear one! 

If you are a bride, and your bestie is a guy, have him in your bridal party. The tradition of the 'identical' bridal party only started in ancient times to scare off and confuse potential kidnappers and evil spirits as they wouldn't be able to identify the bride and groom. 

If you want to elope, go for it! Have a party later on. 

What I want to say is that you shouldn't be scared to break tradition, you shouldn't be worried about others thoughts and feelings - this is your love story! 

Some of my favourite weddings have been 'non-traditional' - one bride got married at the top of a playground and made all her guests slide down the slide in celebration. She even arrived by (kids) train! 

As always, I can't leave you without an image. Here is a shot from a wedding that reperesented what it means to be family, a community, and to be full of love. 

Wedding Day tips - A Bride's Emergency Kit

You've made it, it's your wedding day, and the last thing you want is a disaster. But never fear, there are 1000s of resources out there to help you prepare, and now you have one more! 

I've put together a pinterest board for you to browse and it pretty much covers everything. I'll list some essentials below and attach an image with some examples. 

View my pinterest board for a bridal emergency kit here. 

A few essentials across every list were:
Face Wipes
Bobby Pins
Cotton Buds
Water
Pain Killers
Band-Aids
Clear Nail Polish (For stocking runs)
Sewing Kit  
Tissues

There are heaps of cool ways to package this up too. A cute little bag will usually do the trick. 
Bridesmaids and Maids of honour can win themselves huge brownie points by making an emergency kit for their brides. 

My favourite locations in Invercargill

Today I wanted to write from my soul, so I thought I would chat to you guys about some of my favourite locations to shoot in in our wonderful little city!

Queens Park is a huge favourite, and with good reason. I've never had a dissapointing shoot in Queens Park. It has multiple spots for shooting and they are all equally beautiful. My absolute favourites are the blossoms, the trees behind the playground, and the little path of the main entrance!

Another favourite place to shoot at is out at Oreti Beach. The sand dunes, the long expansive shore line and the beauty of the waves makes for breathtaking photos. I can't get enough of shooting out there, I can't imagine ever tiring of it!

The water tower,, Sandy Point, The Cabbage Tree, and Hawthorne gardens are also some locations I love. There are so many other little spots in our beautiful city that I can't wait to explore too! 

Some vendors I have personally worked with.

I thought today I would talk to you about some of my favourite vendors around Southland, and include some tips that can help you with your wedding planning, and I thought it would be a good idea to order the list to mimic a wedding timeline!

So in that regard, let's start with getting ready! I have had the pleasure of working with Allure Hair Design, who is run by the very talented Kimberly!

I've also had the pleasure of working with Steph from Steph Mac Make-up Artist on a number of projects. Steph oozes talent and that definitely shows with her work!

For florists, I have worked with Karen from Windsor Florist, who is located in Windsor here in Invercargill.

I've also been lucky enough to work with Joyce from Lilly Jackson's in Gore, who provided the florals for a Vow Renewal that was donated and put together by various Southland Vendors. 

I've photographed quite a few private venues (Parent's land, farms, etc), but I have shot at The Cabbage tree for a number of events here in Southland, and it is certainly a good choice. It provides a beautiful backdrop for your ceremony, spots for family photos, spots for your bride and groom portraits, and is just a stone's throw away from the beautiful Oreti Beach. They are a good choice for an all in one venue. 

I've also had the pleasure of shooting some stunning Central Otago Weddings. I shot at the stunning Orchard Garden's in Alexandra last season, and I can't begin to describe the beauty of that place - it's much better to show you. Again, a fantastic option for an all in one venue. 

I hope you found this list helpful and informative with some of the decisions you are making with your wedding planning. The more vendors I work with, the more my knowledge expands and the more helpful I can be to my future couples, so I am hoping to do at least one of these a season. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Queensberry Wedding Album

A Queensberry album is breathtakingly beautiful in a way that I've never seen replicated by anything else. Everything is an incredibly high quality, and they help take your beautiful wedding images to the next level. This album isn't just for you, it's a family heirloom. This treasure will last long enough to show your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren. I think it's amazing that we live in a generation where we can show our grandkids all those details we spent hours picking. 

But firstly, let me allow you to fall in love with these beauties. It comes in a beautiful keepsake box, and comes wrapped in a velvet bag. First you have your choice of album covers. My favourite is white leather, it just screams luxury. Embossing is included and it's an amazing little touch. 

The cover sheet not only helps protect the images, it looks amazing. You'll feel like a superstar seeing your name in print. 

We work together to select the images in the album, and I will always give my advice where it is needed and wanted, but ulitimately, this album is about your love story, your family, and your legacy. 

It's about telling the story of your day for not only you to relive, but to show those that weren't there. It's looking back and seeing how beautiful your nana looked at your wedding long after she leaves you. 

Queensberry have a number of pre-selected lay-outs that we can use, and I'll work on the flow and lay-out of the album - but if you want some images to be swapped around on the page so your favourite is the feature - that's fine too.

If you want to see these amazing keepsakes in person, contact me and we can arrange that. But I can't promise that you won't want one for yourself. 

The album pages are all beautifully matted, to protect your images and promote longevity. You have a choice of papers, but my favourite are the art papers. 


Invest in your own history, because you deserve to be immortalised in the most beautiful way, and so does your love story.

Exist in photos, and make sure your family does too. 

Wedding Tips - Planning.

I thought today I would put together a little guide of collected tips that I have learnt by not only planning my own wedding, but through working in the wedding industry. First, lets start with the guest list. 

Ah, the dreaded guest list.

Some invitees come easy and have no question. Lifelong besties, siblings, your favourite cousin. But do I need to invite all of my second cousins? What about my workmates partner? Mum's best friend? If you are having trouble with some of that maybe list, here are some tips that may help.

Have you spoken to that person in the last year? In person, on the phone, in skype? 

If you saw this person at a restaurant, and their card declined, would you pay for their dinner? 

Would you have dinner out with this person on a Saturday night? 

Will they make your wedding more fun? 

In ten years time, will you regret their absense? 

Okay, lets move on. Let's talk about Pintrest.

Yes, pintrest is fun. It's totally addictive. Let's not talk about how many pins I've made (It's over 2000). But much of it is unrealistic. Styled shoots in perfect conditions with 10k worth of vendor contributions that use models is not realistic or attainable. Yes, use them as reference, use it as a mood board, and use it to figure out your theme and style you are after. But don't pin your hopes on it (Excuse the pun).

When to book all your vendors. 

Ah, this is a big one. I see brides being caught up with their decorations before they even have a venue, and I see them worry about their hair before they have a dress. 

My biggest advice I can give you on this is to decide on your date and book your biggest vendors first. Once you have a date, think about the type of wedding you want to have. Do you want to get married in a beautiful historic church? Your favourite park or beach?

Once you have settled on this, decide on whether you want an all inclusive venue or whether you want a ceremony in the park and your reception in a restauraunt. 

 

 

Once you have a venue, book your photographer and celebrant/officiant. Book your videographer, catering if you need it, and any other vendor that requires a large booking time. One year out is not unusual for these vendors, maybe even two. 

Great, now you have a date and location. Pick a theme (hey pintrest) and send those save the dates! 

Yay, you have a theme! Time to go get your dream dress. I would suggest getting your dress at least six months in advance. 

You have your dress now, so you can probably figure out your shoes and jewellery. 

Go get those bridesmaids dresses! Now you have them, you can figure out their accessories. 

See how the big things trickle down into the little things? Once you have a venue, decorations become easier. Once you have theme, invitations, flowers, decor, dresses and suits all become clearer. Once you have clothes, accessories become clearer. Most importantly, take it one step at at time.

Take care of your guests

Are you getting married in the height of summer outdoors? Consider skipping favours and providing fans, water and sunglasses outside instead. Standing ceremony? Don't forget a seat for the older guests. Chance of rain? Consider umbrellas.

Feeding your Vendors

Generally, you want to feed the vendors that have a) worked all day and b) will be there for the meal. Ask your venue about vendor meals, some do a special plate at a discounted price. Always sit these vendors with your guests, that way they are still their to photograph or video unexpected events and can get straight back into it when they are done. Also, nobody wants a photo of them eating.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. 

I want to tell you this from the get-go. No question is too stupid to ask me. Ever. Don't ever be afraid to ask your vendor a question, even if it seems silly or it's just to settle your nerves. I've had questions and requests for images I would do without thinking, and it's all come from a place of worry or because someone has let them down in the past. Yes, there will be plenty of images with you and your mum. 

Don't feel the need to explain yourself

Nobody except you and your partner need to know why you are doing something the way you are doing. This is your wedding, your day, your way. You don't need to explain the reason your best friends child is invited but your workmates's four children aren't. You don't need to explain why you aren't wearing white or why you have no bridal party or why your reception is at a pub. 

Assign someone to grab important keepsakes. 

You spent hours picking your stationery suite, your decorations, your boquet, and you paid for them! Often you can't grab those yourself, so enlist a parent, bestie or bridal party member to gather up the table stationery, boquets and decorations you want to keep. 

Remember to take a bit of time for yourself, and some time with your partner. 

I'll let you in on a secret. I always allow a few minutes at the end of our bride + groom session for you to have a few minutes on your own, and it's often the only down time you will get together. Use it! 

Don't forget to thank your guests
Don't forget the all important thank-you cards. They don't have to be intricate or complicated. They can follow on from an already decided theme or they can feature your favourite wedding photo! 

Take some time off from planning

Sometimes this planning gig gets overwhelming. When that happens, take some time out, call your bestie and have some wine. Take a few days off. Your preperations will be there when you get back with a fresh and rested mind.


 



 

Beautiful Packaging for Beautiful Clients

Today I wanted to show you how I present wedding images to my clients. Everything is presented in a beautiful wooden box, with their USB nestled in wood wool. The beautiful boxes are sourced locally from Knitwood Botique! Check them out if you are in the market for some beautiful wooden crafts. 

They open their box to be greeted with presents and information. Every part of my presentation comes with instructions, such as Digital File preservation and how best to hang your images. 
There are wee gifts for the bridal party, your parents, and a gift and treats for you!

Everything is all packaged together nicely and the instructions sit with their appropriate package. I take care of all my clients from their first contact, right through to the delivery of the finished product. If I am lucky, I get to continue taking care of them when they come back for their maternity, child and family portraits. 

Each and every client is a gift, so it's important to me that they know this, and that they feel it. 

Do you want something like this after your wedding? Drop me a line today here

Wedding Traditions - From weird, to wonderful!

A couple of years ago, we were required to research Wedding Traditions for our first ever wedding assignment at Polytech. Recently, I found the little book that I made, and had a good read about why we have certain traditions in Weddings today, even if the symblosym behind them is a thing of the past. I often see brides asking about why we do the things we do at modern weddings. So I thought I would share with you where our modern wedding traditions came from. 

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

This tradition started in England. Something old symbolised continuity; often a piece of lace, a grandmothers scarf, or and old piece of jewellery. Something new symbolised hope for the future, and could be anything from a new piece of clothing, to the wedding band itself. Something borrowed symbolised future happiness, and was often provided by a married friend of the bride. Something blue dates back to ancient times when blue was the colour of purity, and often both bride and groom wore a blue band around the bottom of their wedding attire. 

The White Dress

Prior to the 16th Century, white gowns were uncommon. Many brides simply wore their best dress. It wasn't until 1499 that a white dress began to symbolise virginity and purity, and became part of the European Wedding Culture. Prior to that , blue was the colour that symbolised purity. In 1840, Queen Victoria wore white to marry Prince Albert, and cemented the trend of the white dress that we still see today. 

The Veil

It is unclear where the tradition of the veil orginated from, but there are several theories. One is that it is a relic of the days when the groom would capture a woman of his choosing, throw a blanket over her head, and cart her off. Another is that during the days of arranged marriages, the brides face was covered until the groom was committed to her at marriage, so it would be too late to run off it he didn't like the look of her. One final theory is that the veil was worn to protect the bride from evil spirits that may be floating around her on her wedding day. In modern times, it has come to stand as the ultimate symbol of purity, and often the brides father will lift the veil once she reaches the altar. 

The Ring Finger

A bride's rings are traditionally worn on the third finger of her left hand. There are two main theories surrounding this, although no precise evidence is known. The first, dating back to the 17th century, is that during a Christian Wedding the priest arrived at the fourth finger (counting the thumb), after touching the three fingers on the left hand, in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit. The second is that the ring finger contains the 'vena amoris' (Also known by it's colloquial term, "The love vein"), that runs directly to the heart. 

Cake Cutting

The joint cake cutting symbolises the couples unity in life, their shared future, and their new life together as one. 
 

Bride to the Left

During the Ceremony, the Bride stands to the left, and the Groom to the right. This originates from the days when a Groom would capture his Bride by kidnapping her. If the Groom had to fight off other suitors, he would hold his Bride to be with his left hand, allowing his right hand free to use his sword. 

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen originate from Roman law that demanded ten witnesses be present at a wedding, in order to dupe evil spirits who were believed to attend marriages with the view of causing mischief and disharmony. The Bridesmaids and Groomsmen all dressed in identical clothing to the Bride and Groom, so that the evil spirits wouldn't know who was getting married. 

Horseshoes

In ancient times, a Bride was given a real horseshoe, and she was to carry it around on her wrist. It symbolised good luck, but only if the horseshoe was worn upwards, otherwise the luck would tip out. 

The Honeymoon

Following the abduction (the wedding), the Groom would put himself and his new bride into hiding, hence the honeymoon, so by the time the Brides family found them, she would already be pregnant. 

The bouquet

This tradition has a variety of origins, with two main themes remaining heavy. Some suggest that originally, a bouquet was carried to ward off evil spirits, and was primarily made up of garlic and herbs. A second theory is that brides continued the bouquet tradition to mask body odour. In ancient times, bathing was infrequent, so brides had to do something to help mask the smell, hence the bouquet. Today the bouquet has evolved into something that can express everlasting love and luck, can symbolise your culture or cultural heritiage, or simply a stunning way to express personal preference. 

And that's it! Are there any traditions I have left out? Leave me a comment if you know of any weird or wonderful traditions that I have missed, and where it originates from. 

Information sourced from

  • www.celebrationstudio.co.nz
  • www.weddingsguide.co.nz
  • www.aomdj.com
  • www.cameraphotographyevergreen.com

A reflection on the season past

As the 2015/2016 wedding season approaches, I felt it was a good time to look back on some of my favourite shots from last season. Weddings are a beautiful, romantic and celebratory occasion, so any excuse to look at past wedding images is a good one! 

Firstly, I want to talk about the morning. So many special moments happen in the morning that we take for granted, or that we don't think we will want captured. But when you get your images back and you look at them, you'll remember that you and your mum got a calm moment for a coffee together throughout the chaos of the day, and you won't believe the smile on her face. You might have forgotten how stressed you were over your false eyelashes, and it will be a great story for your husband. The day goes so fast that you don't often get a moment to breathe and soak in the beauty of the day. It's also an amazing way for you and your future spouse to share your 'morning of' stories. 

All moments of the ceremony are beautiful. From the anticipation of the groom waiting at the top of the aisle, to the moment that you and your future spouse walk back down the aisle together as husband and wife, to the embracing of two families merging as one. 

The beautiful first images of you and your future spouse are one fantastic and important part of the day. These are some of the first hugs, kisses and moments you have together as husband as wife. You still have that beautiful 'I just got married' glow. It's also a great part of the day for the both of you to relax and just be husband and wife. 

Finally, the reception. The moment that your friends and family get to congratulate you, and reflect on your journey, both as individuals and a couple. A time of celebration and happiness. You might not remember everyone's entire speech, but the emotion will come flooding back to you when you look at your images.